Wednesday, December 12

Top performers






For the final post in my 2012 summary, I have saved the best 'til last. My star plot performers may not be the crops that have produced the most but the first batch I am awarding a B for better than expected. This in many cases means better than expected considering the weather conditions and how that affected my expectations.


Firstly there were the runner beans. These didn't perform any better than normal but they seemed to shrug off the poor weather and just carry on  flowering and cropping as though it was just an ordinary summer. As usual we gave up picking before they gave up producing.
Then there were the potatoes which everyone was predicting were going to literally be a wash-out. In our heavy clay soil we figured that even if the weather didn't finish them off that the slugs would have a field day. In the end, although the individual tubers may have been been a bit smaller, we ended up with an average sized crop. For producing a fairly average crop this year, potatoes deserve a B. I think the fact that we only grow first and second earlies and not maincrop varieties may have helped. A summary of how the varieties performed is here.
We were pleased with our cauliflower harvest - every plant produced a head which isn't always the case and the curds were surprisingly clean despite the battering they endured from the rain.
Cabbages too seemed to thrive in the wet conditions. We had expected to be assailed by the smell of rotting cabbages but were fortunately spared this delight.
After last year's carrot disaster we have been more than happy with this year's crop which we are continuing to harvest. 
We started and now end the year harvesting leeks. It wasn't exactly growing weather when the leeks were planted but they have soldiered on to produce a good crop which will hopefully see us into next year. The stems/bulbs may not be the length of prize winning specimens but they are perfect for us.
Then we have the vegetable that is used as a fruit. Last year we thought the really dry season (remember that) had killed off our rhubarb but thankfully phoenix-like it has resurrected itself and provided us with plenty of crumble material. Oh! and not forgetting the rhubarb crumble muffins.
When the fruit first set we didn't think that the redcurrants were going to do very well. They may have taken a little longer to mature and ripen but in the end we had plenty of redcurrants to pick and freeze leaving enough for the birds to tuck into when we had taken all we wanted.

The last B grade performer is our newly planted Loch Ness thornless blackberry - a recommendation from Tanya - thanks Tanya. Being a new plant we didn't expect much of it this year but it exceeded expectations and is full of promise. Picking blackberries is far less hazardous than it is from its thorny cousin.


Now we come to the A listers. A for amazing.

Just two plants in this category - both fruits - only the first is a fruit that we use as a vegetable. I really did not expect a bumper cucumber harvest this year. Not when summer was so cool - well let's face it cold. What is more amazing I am talking outdoor cucumbers here, not ones being cosseted in a cosy greenhouse. The plants produced fruits by the bucketful - so much so that I even had to resort to going door to door in my neighbourhood giving some away.


The other star performers were the raspberries, red, yellow, purple, summer and autumn fruiting. We started picking in June and the fruits just kept on coming. We didn't even protect the canes with netting and often disturbed feasting blackbirds when we approached to take our share. There was plenty for all of us. How the fruits didn't end up battered and bruised by the rain I'll never really understand. The yellow ones were even less spoiled than they have been in previous years. Its just amazing!



Copyright: Original post from Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments http://glallotments.blogspot.co.uk/ author by S Garrett

23 comments:

  1. Hi Sue
    Your year of veg is very similar to mine. The only thing i'd add for my really good crops were sweetcorn as I had a bumper year with them and strangely enough I had a bumper year with my strawberries too. The things that didn't do so well were my dwarf frenchbeans and my potatoes were not good due to the amount of slug holes they had, so I will be looking for a different variety for next year. Also, my apples, plums and pears were not good as there were so few of them.
    I can't wait until the spring when it all gets going again at the allotment...I really hate this time of year when it's so cold and miserable outside.

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    1. Do your plums tend to crop biennially like ours NJGF?

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  2. I think runner beans stand up to the weather much better than French beans. Typical then that this was the year that I decided not to grow them. I did end up doing a late sowing, so I wasn't without, but I didn't get as good a crop as I've had in previous years. I've just done a post about my leeks, I wish mine were as good as yours. Your cucumbers were amazing, how many plants gave you this harvest?

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    1. We had six plants, Jo but not all grew as well as others I guess most of our crops came from three of the plants. They all started well but some ended up having more competition from other plants. We grew then up canes on the opposite side to the sweet peas on our sweet pea framework. They were lovely and crisp to eat.

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    2. That's a great harvest from outdoor plants. If my three varieties don't do well this year, I'll be back to Burpless for another go.

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  3. Your series of posts has demonstrated conclusively the wisdom of diversity. Some things will do well every year, but it may be different ones each time, so the more different things you grow, the better chance of having at least something in the A category. Runner Beans were my star performers this year, but my cocktail cucumbers did well too. Next year, who knows what it will be?

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  4. A bad year for beans would summarise our experience! (and potatoes!) Love the caulies and cucumbers.

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  5. Wow! I wish my potatoes were that good. I was also very lucky with my berries.

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  6. All I can say is wow such good harvests and wonderful pictures - things were not so bad after all.

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    1. No they weren't were they Elaine - we got sucked into the doom and gloom.

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  7. Truly impressive cauliflowers Sue. I'm interested in the cucumbers - I'm starting to think that water levels have the biggest impact on them, mine really struggle when they even dry out a little bit but seem to put up with more extremes (heat and cool) as long as they remain moist.

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    1. Ours were certainly moist this year, Liz. These were an outdoor variety which are hardier than most.

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  8. You've done really well with your harvests overall. The cucumber is very impressive as I always think of it as a warm weather crop. The beans look pretty as well with the flowers, so I think I'd have to give them an A slot. Your cauliflowers look very clean and pretty, well done. Great postings on your crop reviews!

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    1. I was surprised by the cucumbers too Kelli as like you I thought they would need it to be warmer.

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  9. Wow Sue, what a very impressive bounty you have here from your allotment! I’ll have to save this and link to it another time on my blog. I’m not a veggie grower but by gosh to those that are they must get some inspiration from your blogs. Well done you… I feel a tweet coming on :-)

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  10. Well I am glad you didn't have to deal with the stink of rotting cabbages Sue!! Good to know what thrived despite the harsh summer, raspberries are a surprise, ours at the allotment did really well too. A lovely looking haul, all told. Hope next year is even better for you - and the rest of us!

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    1. So do I Janet - just a normal summer - not a heatwave or anything

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  11. Despite us all complaining all year you have had a really good harvest...makes me wonder if amateurs like us can do it why the food in the shops which is supplied by the 'pros' has risen in price so much. How do you get such great cauliflowers?? I am never very successful with them...and I do love my cauliflower!

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    1. We now grow a club-root resistant variety of cauliflower Tanya - Clapton which does well on our soil which is prone to club root

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